Week 10 – 5/3/1 – Day 36

Cycle #3

Overall, I felt much better coming into the workout today.  I read something very inspiring while I was perusing the net at work today.  It was an article by none other than Jim Wendler himself.  It was quite refreshing to read because I’ve been experiencing subtle whispers in my head telling me that I need to cut down on my eating and start doing some more cardio to get that six pack ab.  I guess I should expect it considering summer’s finally here.  The title of the article is “Time to Man Up”.  When I first read it, I had a resounding thought of “F*CK YEAH” in my head and I got really amped.

Deadlift:  5×115, 5×140, 3×175 + 3×205, 3×235, 5×265

I had business socks on.  Probably looked a bit silly, but it saved my shins a bit.  I did manage to rip off a scab from my previous deadlift session, so that was no fun, but didn’t really affect me much.  I used my belt on the last set and had an alternating grip.  Form felt great- I didn’t feel any stress on the lower back.  I think the feeling I can best describe is that I was trying to separate the floor, contracting the glutes and driving my heels into the ground while lifting the bar close to the body.  Once the bar reached my knees, I drove my hips forward aggressively.

Boring But Big 70%

Squat: 3×135, 3×155, 1×185 + 7/5/5/5/4 x 205

These felt considerably more confident compared to last time.  What I didn’t like though was that my right wrists were buckled while my left were in line with my forearm.  This needs to be fixed for Friday’s squat.

Ab Wheel:  10/5/5/5/5

These were pretty difficult.  I had put quite a lot more effort in my assistance squat lift today so my mind and body were pretty fried at this point.

Treadmill:  10% incline + 3min. warm-up @ 3.0 spd, 2 sets of 1min. 5.0 speed jog / 1min. 3.0 speed rest

Week 10 – 5/3/1 – Day 35

Cycle #3

I don’t remember my stats, but I think this is a rep PR on the press.  I definitely could have managed a few more reps.

Press:  5×75, 3×85, 4×95

Accidentally did 2 extra reps on the first set.

Boring But Big 70%

Bench Press: 3x10xBar + 5x10x115

My bench felt very strong today.  Managed to bang out all the reps on each set.  I wasn’t tucking my elbows as much.  And I also wasn’t locking out.  I noticed that when I lockout at the top, my shoulder blades naturally protract thereby making me lose tightness in my upper back.

Curls:  3x10x40 + Tricep pushdown:  3x10x35 + Face pull: 3x10x25

Curls were were a bit easier than last time.  Tricep pushdowns were extremely easy.  Face pulls got my anterior delts burning a bit.

Treadmill:  15min at 2.5 speed + max incline.

Week 9 – 5/3/1 – Day 34

Cycle #3

Squat:  5×185, 5×215, 5×245

I had some difficulty with these.  My form seems to be pretty good- bar is no longer moving up onto my traps.  Wrists are buckling sideways a bit though.

Boring But Big 70%

Deadlift:  5/5/4/4/2×205

Used some long formal socks to avoid scraping the knees.  These were heavy.  Couldn’t get to 10 reps on a single set.

Week 9 – 5/3/1 – Day 33

Cycle #3

Bench Press:  3x10xBar + 5×110, 5×125, 5×140

I keep forgetting to do additional reps on the last set.  Today’s bench felt pretty solid- no load imbalance.

Boring But Big 70%

Press:  10/8/5/4/4×75 + DB Row:  5x10x30 

Press was pretty difficult- I couldn’t finish out the sets except for the first.  I used a false grip.  The DB Rows weren’t a part of the Press superset.  Instead, I incorporated it as the last exercise after the face pull.

Curls:  3x10x40 + Tricep pushdown:  3x10x35 + Face pull:  3x10x25

Up’ed the weight on the curls to 40.  I can actually comfortably do these now.  I could barely lift them when I first started 5/3/1.  Tricep pushdowns were still pretty easy, I went from 30 to 35.  Face pulls were pretty as well.

Week 9 – 5/3/1 – Day 32

Cycle #3

Made a mistake and did week 3 weights at 3×5.  Pretty sure I almost tore my left arm off.  I anticipated squats to be fairly difficult and so I used my Inzer lever belt.  I managed to only do 5 reps on each set before gassing out.

Deadlift:  5×115, 5×140, 3×175 + 5×200, 5×240, 3×275

Very heavy.  Shins took a beating.  Used alternating grip on 2nd and 3rd set.  Left shoulder socket felt like it almost separated from my body at one point.

Boring But Big 70%

Squat: 3×135, 3×165, 1×185 + 5x5x200

These didn’t get me breathing heavy, but they were difficult and I couldn’t get to 10 reps on each set.  Had I actually tried to go the distance on each set, I’d probably have taken a much harder beating.  I also tried something different and instead of lifting my elbows, I tried to keep them underneath the bar close to perpendicular to the ground.  I felt my shoulder blades squeeze much harder.  There was less trap involvement because when I raised my elbow I would end up squeezing my traps really hard.  My torso also felt much more upright which was a relief because usually when the bar gets heavy I end up leaning over too much to the point where my torso is close to parallel with the ground making it very difficult to avoid doing a good morning on the way up.  Noticed that my right hand was buckling once fatigue started setting which put my wrist in an unfavorable position.  The loss of proper position in the right hand caused my biceps and lats to compensate for the compromised hand position.

Ab Wheel:  10/8/8

These were easier than I had expected at the time.  Little to no lower back pain.

Week 9 – 5/3/1 – Day 31

Cycle #3

And cycle numero 3 starts.  This is also the third and last month of the 3-month challenge, therefore, my Boring But Big assistance exercises will bump up to 70% training max.  Definitely much more difficult.  Today was press day and so my assistance was the bench.  Also, today I decided that I’m going to try going to the gym in the morning versus coming home after work.  Usually I get to the gym before 8 and stay until 9:30 / 10:00 depending on how late I get there.

Press:  5×70, 5×80, 5×90

Getting pretty heavy.  It was a workout just getting the bars off the rack.  I didn’t use a barbell and loaded plates since someone was in the squat rack so I decided to use the preset ones (what are these called??).  Hoodie probably didn’t help with shoulder mobility when I was raising the bar over.  Lower back was getting sore for some reason- not sure if I’m arching too much.

Boring But Big 70%

Bench Press: 3x10xBar + 1010/8/7/6 x 115

So, again, my right tri’s and lats were burning while my left tris and lats were practically unaffected.  I noticed that when I lower the bar, my right forearm wasn’t going down perpendicular to the floor.  It seems as though I may be tucking too much on the right side while I have my elbows flared on the left.  This obviously causes a load imbalance and also loading of different muscles from each side.  I stood to correct this on the latter sets and tried to just avoid the tucking for now and try focus on making my form symmetric.

Chinups:  4/2/2/2/2

These felt heavy.  I’m not sure if the bench drained my ability to pull, but I definitely much heavier when chinning.

Curls:  3x10x30 + Tricep pushdown:  1x10x30, 2x10x35 + Face pull: 3x10x25

I increased the weight on the tricep pushdowns, they’re way too easy now and I wanted some more resistance.  I’m not sure how I feel about increasing the curls yet.  Unfortunately, I’m using the “preset” barbells and so I can’t load 5 lbs on them easily.  And I also don’t want to be the jackass curling a normal barbell inside a squat rack.  The face pull felt significantly better.  I used parallel foot stance instead of staggered and leaned back a little so my body was at an incline.  First off, this took out back involvement completely.  This helped quite a bit because before I would have lower back aches when doing these.  Second, instead of pulling upward at a slant, I, instead, pulled the rope straight to my face.  Felt the anterior delts getting worked good.

Week 8 – 5/3/1 – Day 30

Cycle #2

Squat:  5×110, 5×140, 5×165

I banged out these reps pretty quickly.  Each rep I paused in the hole for about half a second.

Boring But Big 60%

Deadlift:  5x10x170

Decided to go with about shoulder width stance.  Felt different that when I lifted previously with narrow stance.  I imagined pushing my heels through the ground.  Scraping the shins really suck a lot.

Week 8 – 5/3/1 – Day 29

Cycle #2

Missed my Tuesday Deadlift session.  Diablo 3, the game, came out that day and I was well…preoccupied with it for the remainder of the day.  Extremely bad on my part.  I’m also still coaching my little brother this week on the core lifts.  I’m having him start the beginner Stronglifts5x5 workout next week.  This week is teaching proper technique on all the core lifts as well as teaching him the Agile 8 and DeFranco’s.

This week concludes the second cycle and reflecting back on it, I can’t ignore the fact I’ve failed the consistency game.  I missed a day here, a day there.  My head wasn’t focused on succeeding and progressing.  This coming third cycle, Boring But Big intensity is going up to 70% as per Wendler’s 3-month challenge.  I know that the one thing that was extremely difficult to grind through this cycle was the Boring But Big assistances, especially on Squat/Deadlift days.

Agile 8 + DeFranco’s  Didn’t do the roll-over to v-sit exercise.

Bench Press:  3x10xBar + 5×65, 5×80, 5×95

I paid special attention to my form when performing each and every single rep.  Sometimes I forget to tighten my upper back or push my feet through the ground and drive up or tuck my elbows and so I made sure to do everything right.  Slow descent and explode from the chest.

Boring But Big 60%

Press:  10/10/9/8/8 + DB Row:  5x10x30 

I had a harder time this time around with this superset.

Curls:  3x10x30 + Tricep pushdown:  3x10x30 + Face pull:  3x10x25

These were easy as usual.  Face pulls were a bit easier today.  I need to rewatch the video on youtube where Charles Poliquin teaches the pull.

Week 8 – 5/3/1 – Day 28

Cycle #2

Agile 8 Didn’t do DeFranco’s.  I was training my younger brother on proper lower body stretches and bottom position squat static stretches.  He’s not too flexible and it’s hampering his ability to get into an optimal squatting position in the hole.

Press:  5×40, 5×50, 5×60

Very easy.

Boring But Big 60%

Bench Press: 3x10xBar + 5x10x85

Right arm was working a bit harder than the left.

Chinups:  5/4/3/2/2

Did a bit better on these compared to last week’s first time.  Looking up helps engage more muscles to pull myself up.

Curls:  3x10x30 + Tricep pushdown:  3x10x30 + Face pull: 3x10x25

These were a bit rushed and so I didn’t perform as well on the later sets.

Week 7 – 5/3/1 – Day 27

Cycle #2

Agile 8 + DeFranco’s  Gewd stuff.  Wasn’t as sore today compared to the previous two days.  May get a foam roller for myself so I can do some rolling at home.  More rolling, less soreness.

Squat:  5×115, 5×140, 3×165 + 5×210, 3×235, 1+”1″x265

All the reps felt good, no lower back strain.  Had a real tight and low barbell position on my back.  I felt the bar firmly against my anterior delts when I squeezed the bar.  I think I lowered the bar a bit too slow on the 1 repper.  I have a habit of doing that when I’m not mentally confident of completing the rep.  I still cranked it out with fair ease.  I went for another rep, but a slight lean forward and my form crapped out.  I got the weight up, but if anything it was more like a good morning.

Boring But Big 60%

Deadlift:  10/8/8/6/10 x 170

Pretty tough.  For the first four sets, my stance was a bit wider.  I set the stance up such that it was about the spacing I would take when prepping for a jump.  This form put considerably less if any stress on my lower back.  However, it also made the lift much more difficult for me.  Knurling scraping against the shins hard was discouraging when I lifted this way.  Narrowed my stance on the last set and it was a breeze.  It was only afterwards, though, that I realized it was easy because I was lifting with my back and not my legs.

Hanging Leg Raises:  10/8/6

Not bad.  One thing I did differently compared to different sessions was crunching my legs upward once my knees reached as far as they could.  I’m not sure if this is necessarily part of the exercise, but it definitely burned my abs quite a bit.

Tabata Sprints:  4×20-10

My route is still up in the air at the moment.  For this session, I used a nearby parking lot.  The first half of the sprint was flat and then the second half was about a 10% incline.  Normally, for tabata sprinting sessions, people go for 8 sets for a total of 4 minutes of hell. Seeing as how I’m just starting, I decided to first start with just 2 sets, but ended up doing 4.  The first sets were really easy.  So I got cocky and went for another 2 sets.  The fatigue hit me hard during the third and fourth sets especially once I hit the incline portions.  My legs went limp and felt like I was lugging tree trunks when I walked back.  I’m going to do 3 sets for another 2 weeks and then add another set on the proceeding weeks.